Anwar talks passionately about 'class struggle' but is there a different Anwar behind all the rhetoric? (Photo by Hussein Shaharuddin/The Mole)
KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s recent remarks that Pakatan Rakyat is fighting a “class war” going into the 13th General Election have elicited criticism in the blogosphere.
At a recent ceramah in Ampang, Anwar said, “This battle, this election is about the masses, the workers, the low-income earners against the rich cronies of Umno.”
“Every day I am attacked,” he said. “Who is fighting me? Not Najib or Muhyiddin. It is the tycoons who fear their profits will be cut.”
Blogger Gelagat Anwar took note of Anwar’s confidence and said it was apparent from the ceramah in question that Anwar was “in his element” and had “got his old rhythm back”. However, he said, people should be aware of the relationships Anwar has with wealthy businessmen, and the class divisions that exist within his own party.
The blogger said Anwar receives a lot of support from Chinese businessmen.
“They say they really support him, but can’t come forward,” he said. “If needed, they can provide donations, if Anwar wants them.”
“Anwar’s relationship with Chinese towkays is not something new,” he continued. “When Anwar was Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister, they were the ones who backed his politics. It was their money that Anwar made a political ‘deposit", he said, adding among Anwar’s earliest funders is Quek Leng Chan.
The blogger said there is a class struggle within PKR, amounting to a “caste system” in which those on the lower rungs place all their hopes on the ones above them.
“Branch heads who are poor will become second-class,” he said. “Those who are rich receive special treatment. Those who are poor just become ‘coolies’.”
At The Choice, an anonymous writer said the class war that Anwar spoke so passionately about “exists only in his own mind”, and that the heart of Pakatan Rakyat lies “with businesses, not with the workers”.
“An Opposition leader claiming to be ‘pro-people’ is one thing, but trying to set off a class war to attract votes is a cheap political trick,” the writer said, adding a class war “is hard to fathom since the government has consistently been pro-people” and has implemented schemes “that have benefitted rural dwellers, low-income earners, and the middle class”.
The writer pointed out PKR’s opposition to the government’s minimum wage policy as proof the Opposition is not fighting for the masses.
“Instead of supporting this measure that would benefit millions of hard-working Malaysians, PKR lambasted this in early March as being too high a cost for businesses to bear,” the writer said.
“With what face can Anwar now claim he represents the ‘downtrodden’,” the writer asked, “after first supporting policies that benefit his business allies at the expense of lower-income earners?”
“If anyone represents ‘rich tycoons’, it is Anwar and his old coalition friends, not the government,” the writer said. “Trying to paint the government as anti-poor is a blatant twisting of the facts.”
“The 'class war' that Anwar hopes to spark off exists only in his own mind," the writer said. "The reality is very different and he seems to be clutching at straws.”